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A Minor Stumble with Ubuntu

What are the chances of getting an old Netopia ADSL to USB modem working on a Linux system? Here is the story...
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Written by J.A. Watson, Member blogger on

What are the chances of getting an old Netopia ADSL to USB modem working on a Linux system? Here is the story...

I went to replace a PC for some friends (their old system was still running Win98 and took about 15 minutes to boot and be ready to use). They only use the PC for email with their children, and once in a great while to look at something on the web. So I thought this was the perfect opportunity to set them up with Linux, Firefox and Thunderbird, and they would never know the difference. I loaded the system and went by to install it... and found that USB network connection. Sigh. I tried just connecting and booting (see, I really am learning to just stay out of the way and give Ubuntu a chance...), but no luck this time. Ubuntu could see the Netopia USB device, according to lsusb, but didn't know what to do with it, and the LEDs on the modem stayed dark.

I searched for some info on the web, and the Ubuntu and Mandriva Wikis, but I haven't found anything that is reasonably current, and does not require kernel modifications and special driver hacks, which I am not willing to risk on a machine that I am going to install for someone else. If anyone knows how to get such a USB network connection working, on Ubuntu or Mandriva, I would love to hear about it. Otherwise...

The obvious solution is to replace the ADSL modem with something a lot more rational, and most likely a lot better. I can pick up a Linksys ADSL modem/router/hub/wireless unit for a reasonable price, and just avoid the USB problem that way. Overall it's a better solution anyway.

jw 2/10/2008

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